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Travel Advisories

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Alerts and Warnings

Iraq Travel Warning

Travel Warning
June 14, 2017
Iraq Travel Warning
O E N H U T C

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains very dangerous, and the ability of the Embassy to assist U.S. citizens facing difficulty is extremely limited. This supersedes the Travel Warning dated January 31, 2017.  

U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Numerous terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq, including ISIS (also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, Islamic State and Iraq ash-Sham, or Da'esh). Such groups regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and western companies throughout Iraq. Attacks by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occur frequently in many areas of the country, including Baghdad. U.S. citizens should pay particular attention to the possibility of terrorist attacks around religious and civic holidays.

Methods of attack have included explosively formed penetrators, magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles, human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads, mortars and rockets, and gunfire. Such attacks often take place in public places, including cafes and markets. Facilities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the U.S. government, and western interests remain possible targets.

The U.S. government particularly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to or transiting through Iraq, or entering Syria, to engage in armed conflict. In addition to the extreme personal risks of kidnapping, injury, or death posed by such actions, legal risks include arrest, fines, and expulsion. Since the closure of the border between Syria and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), the KRG has stated that it will impose prison sentences of up to ten years on individuals who illegally cross the border. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS, can constitute providing material support for terrorism, a crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines in the United States.

The Embassy urges U.S. citizens in Iraq to avoid protests and large gatherings. Iraqi authorities have responded forcefully when violence has occurred, including on two occasions in 2016 when protestors entered the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad and attacked Iraqi government buildings. These incursions resulted in personal injury to both protesters and security personnel. Demonstrations in Baghdad have also occurred in and around Tahrir Square. Demonstrations in Basrah have occurred at the offices of the Provincial Council and governor.

The Department of State strongly cautions U.S. citizens not to travel near the Syrian, Turkish, or Iranian borders with Iraq, which are especially dangerous and not always clearly defined. U.S. citizens traveling near border areas may encounter aerial or artillery bombardments, unmarked minefields, border skirmishes with smugglers, and large refugee flows. Neighboring governments, including Iran, have detained U.S. citizens who approach these borders.

The Government of Iraq strictly enforces regulations regarding visas and entry, authorizations for weapons, and movements through checkpoints. U.S. citizens traveling to Iraq without the proper authorization or whose purpose of travel is not readily apparent have been detained without warning. For more information on entry/exit requirements, please see our Country Specific Information page for Iraq.

The Government of Iraq has begun to improve the structural integrity of the Mosul Dam. However, a dam failure could cause significant flooding, loss of life, and interruption of essential services from Mosul to Baghdad. While it is impossible to accurately predict the likelihood of the dam’s failing, the Embassy has made contingency plans to relocate its personnel in such an event. The Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens in Iraq who reside in the floodplain of the Tigris River prepare their own contingency plans, have valid U.S. passports, and stay informed of local media reports and Embassy security messages. 

The U.S. government considers the potential personal security threats to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines. All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy and Consulates. The internal security policies of the U.S. Mission in Iraq may change at any time. The Mission will regularly restrict or prohibit movements by its personnel, often on short notice, for security threats or demonstrations.

U.S. citizens who come to Iraq despite this warning should have medical insurance that provides coverage in Iraq, as well as supplemental medevac insurance to provide medical transport out of the country. The U.S. government does not pay medical bills or medical transport fees for U.S. citizens. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical costs outside the United States. Travelers should expect no medical assistance from the U.S. government.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that U.S. civil aviation flying in Iraqi airspace is at risk from ongoing combat operations involving military forces (military aerial combat operations and other militarily-related activity) and militant groups. As a result, the FAA currently prohibits U.S. civil aviation from operating in or overflying Iraqi airspace with very limited exceptions. Foreign airlines operating in Iraq may cancel their operations without warning due to the security environment or other factors. Travelers should remain vigilant and reconfirm all flight schedules with their airline prior to commencing any travel.  For further background information regarding FAA prohibitions on U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices website.

For more information:

Country Information

Iraq
Republic of Iraq
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Minimum of six months remaining on entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None required. Vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

No more than $10,000 USD

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Al-Kindi Street
International Zone
Baghdad, Iraq
Telephone:  0760-030-3000
Telephone: 301-985-8841, ext. 4293 or 2413 (U.S. dial numbers that ring in Baghdad)
U.S. Citizen Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-964-770-443-1286 or 011-964-770-030-4888 from the United States or 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888 from within Iraq.
Email: baghdadacs@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Erbil
413 Ishtar, Ankawa Erbil, Iraq
Telephone: During business hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday through Thursday (local Erbil time is eight hours ahead of EST and seven hours ahead during EDT)
From Iraq: 066-211-4554
From the United States: 240-264-3467 and then extension 4554
After hours emergencies and on weekends (Friday, Saturday & Holidays):
From Iraq:
066-211-4000 and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
From the United States: 240-264-3467 and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
E-mail: ErbilACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Basrah
Basrah, Iraq (near Basrah International Airport)
At this time, U.S. Consulate General Basrah does not provide consular services; please contact the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for assistance.

The work week in Iraq is Sunday through Thursday.

 

 

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Iraq for additional information on U.S. – Iraq relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Required Travel Documents:

  1. Passport:  Valid for at least six months after dates of travel. 
  2. Visa:  Apply with the Embassy of Iraq in Washington, D.C.

 

Within 10 days of the date of entry into Iraq, most travelers must:

  1. Obtain an arrival sticker
  2. Submit a blood test (does not apply to tourist visa holders)
  3. Obtain a residency stamp

Arrival Sticker: The arrival sticker is available at a Residency Office in Iraq. Visitors who exceed the 10-day period can face a large fine. 

Blood Test: All visitors and new residents to Iraq, with the exception of those travelling on a tourist visa, must have a blood test for HIV and hepatitis within 10 days of arrival or face a fine. The test must then be repeated every 90 days while in Iraq. Guidance on where to go for the blood test is available at the airport upon arrival. In the Kurdistan Region, travelers only need to have this blood test if staying for more than 15 days.

Residency Stamp: There is a high-cost penalty for visitors who do not obtain the required residency stamp within their first 10 days in country. Visitors staying less than 10 days do not require this stamp.  A U.S. citizen who plans to stay longer than two months must apply at the Residency Office for an extension.

Exit Stamp: Before departing the country, U.S. citizens must obtain an exit stamp at a residency office. Contractors in the International Zone (IZ) may also obtain exit stamps at the Karadah Mariam Police Station (available Sunday and Wednesday, 10:00-14:00). Exit stamp fees vary, depending on length of stay, type of entry visa, and other factors. Travelers who hold a tourist passport with no visa or an expired visa are required to purchase an exit visa and pay a fine. The requirement and cost of an exit stamp may differ if the U.S. citizen passport holder has Iraqi ancestry. Visitors who intend to return to Iraq will require a re-entry visa, also available through a local residency office.

U.S. Government Contractors: The Government of Iraq’s requirements for entry and residency for U.S. government contractors vary based on many factors. Persons traveling to Iraq to work on U.S. government contracts should check with their contracting company and contracting officer’s representative to determine entry and residency procedures and requirements. Contractors receive an Iraqi visa tied specifically to the contract and will be in violation of Iraqi immigration law if found to be violating the terms of the visa, including by overstaying. The process for obtaining these visas can be lengthy, so contractors should apply early and remain in close contact with their contracting company during the visa process.

Private U.S. Citizens Traveling for Work: U.S. citizens traveling to Iraq for the purpose of employment should check with their employers and with the Embassy of Iraq in Washington, D.C. for any special entry or exit requirements related to employment. 

Residency Offices: Each province has a Residency Office in the provincial capital.

Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) Entry/Exit Requirements: Immigration officials in the provinces of Dahuk, Erbil, and Al-Sulayimaniyah, which make up the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), routinely allow U.S. citizens to enter Iraq without a valid Iraqi visa; however, the airport-issued IKR visa is not valid outside the IKR, and U.S. citizens are not permitted to travel within the rest of Iraq with only the IKR-issued visa. This visa is valid only in the IKR for a period of 30 days. U.S. citizens who plan to stay for longer than 30 days require an extension to their visa; this can be obtained by visiting the local residency office. Failure to do so will result in significant fines. In addition, it is difficult for U.S. citizens to obtain residency authorization outside the IKR without first obtaining a valid Iraqi visa.

Embassy of Iraq, Washington, D.C.: Visit the Embassy of Iraq for the most current visa information. The Embassy of Iraq is located at 3421 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20007; phone number is 202-742-1600; fax number is 202-333-1129.

HIV/AIDS: Iraq has imposed HIV/AIDS travel restrictions on all visitors and new residents must have an HIV blood test during their first 10 days in country or face a fine. There is no waiver available for this ineligibility. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Iraq before you travel.

Other: Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Risk of Violence to U.S. Citizens: U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at critical risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. The U.S. Embassy warns U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Iraq and advises citizens to read the State Department’s Iraq Travel Warning

ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL or Da’esh) is a designated terrorist organization conducting a widespread, active insurgency in many parts of Iraq and Syria. It commits terrorist attacks, violent atrocities, and targets U.S. citizens. ISIS controls a portion of Iraq’s territory. Within areas under ISIS control, the Iraqi government has little or no ability to exercise control and ensure public safety. People belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTI persons, and people who express support for the government of Iraq or Western institutions are at grave risk in these areas, and may face kidnapping, imprisonment, or execution. Additionally, criminal gangs and local militias pose a potential threat to U.S. citizens. Please see the Iraq Travel Warning for a further description of the types of violence occurring in Iraq.

U.S. Government Security: The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines. All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy. 

Private Security: State Department guidance to U.S. businesses in Iraq advises the use of protective security details. Detailed security information is available on the U.S. Embassy website.

Avoid Border Areas: U.S. citizens should avoid border areas, especially near the Syrian, Turkish, and Iranian borders in northern Iraq. These are especially dangerous and not always clearly defined. For more information, please see the Iraq Travel Warning, and Country Specific Information for Iraq’s neighboring countries: Iran, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Syria.

Mosul Dam: The Government of Iraq has begun to improve the structural integrity of the Mosul Dam. A dam failure could cause significant flooding, loss of life, and interruption of essential services from Mosul to Baghdad. While it is impossible to accurately predict the likelihood of the dam failing, the Embassy has made contingency plans to relocate its personnel in such an event. The Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens in Iraq, especially those who reside in the floodplain of the Tigris River, prepare their own contingency plans and stay informed of local media reports and Embassy security messages for updates.

Crime: Petty theft is common in Iraq; this includes pick-pocketing in busy areas (e.g., markets), as well as the theft of money, jewelry, or other valuables from hotel rooms and private residences. Historically, carjacking by armed thieves has been very common, even during daylight hours, and particularly on the highways from Jordan and Kuwait to Baghdad. Foreigners, Iraqi citizens, and especially dual U.S.-Iraqi citizens are targets of kidnapping. Kidnappers often demand money but have also carried out kidnappings for political/religious reasons. Many hostages have been killed. 

The murder rate remains high due to terrorism, tribal and family disputes, and religious/sectarian tensions.

Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  We can:

  • Replace a stolen passport.
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. 

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Iraq is “130” from both mobile and fixed line telephones. Please note that responders do not speak English.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

For Further Information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Family Circumstances: The U.S. Embassy is aware of cases where U.S. citizens, especially female dual nationals of Iraq, have travelled to Iraq with family members and been subject to threats, kidnappings, and extortion, including incidents of loss of custody of children or forced marriage. Women and children should pay particular attention to any warning signs, including husbands or other family members withholding money or travel documents for such purposes after arrival in Iraq, and also be aware that U.S. laws cannot protect U.S. citizens when they are outside of the United States. The Iraqi police and legal system may offer little protection.

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Special Circumstances: The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services to U.S. citizens is extremely limited given the security environment. Host government emergency services and support are limited. 

Iraq continues to suffer from serious deficiencies in public services. Electricity often fails. Iraqi fire and rescue services are still developing, and hotels may not be fully equipped with fire safety equipment. Telephone (landline) service is very limited, and while cellular service (mobile wireless) has expanded rapidly into urban areas, reliability varies by region. The banking and financial infrastructure is underdeveloped, as transactions in Iraq remain largely cash-based. Hotels usually require payment in foreign currency. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are extremely rare in most of Iraq.

Customs officers have the broad authority to search persons or vehicles at Iraqi ports of entry. Officers may confiscate any goods they deem may pose a threat to the peace, security, health, environment, or social order of Iraq. Antiquities or cultural items suspected of being illegally exported may also be confiscated, as with goods that are not declared. Visitors may also be ordered to return such goods, at their expense, to the jurisdiction from which they came. 

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

LGBTI Travelers: Iraqi law prohibits discrimination based on race, disability, or social status, but it does not address the issue of sexual orientation or gender identity. Societal discrimination in employment, occupation, and housing based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and unconventional appearance is common in Iraq. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Iraq, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and other state services. The government enforces the law in the public sector, but not in the private sector. Access for persons with disabilities to buildings and in educational and work settings remains inconsistent. Public and government buildings, as well as public bathrooms, may not be accessible.

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Health

The U.S. Embassy does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation by air ambulance since the U.S. Embassy does not pay for this service.

Prescription Medication: Always carry your prescription medication in the original packaging with your doctor’s prescription and in sufficient supply for your entire stay. 

Medical Care: Basic, modern medical care and medicines are not widely available in Iraq. Conflict has left some medical facilities non-operational and medical stocks and supplies severely depleted. The facilities in operation do not meet U.S. standards, and the majority lack medicines, equipment, and supplies. A limited number of companies facilitate medical evacuations. Blood banks exist in Iraq, though blood supply may not be sufficient in the event of an emergency and likely has not been tested under U.S. standards for infectious disease. In addition, many areas suffer rolling power outages and generators are not always available for back-up. U.S. citizens in Iraq should not expect any medical assistance from the U.S. government.

Mental Health: There is limited mental health or psychiatric care in Iraq. Be aware that Iraq is a country under conflict; pre-existing mental health conditions and symptoms may resurface or be exacerbated due to exposure to the ongoing events and environment.

Prevalent Diseases:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further Health Information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Vehicular travel in Iraq can be extremely dangerous. There have been attacks on civilian vehicles as well as Iraqi military and security convoys on roads and highways throughout Iraq, both in and outside metropolitan areas. Attacks occur throughout the day, but travel at night is more dangerous and should be avoided. Such attacks are unpredictable, and have involved small arms fire and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) capable of destroying the average vehicle. 

Public Transportation: Buses run irregularly and frequently change routes. Poorly-maintained city transit vehicles are often involved in accidents.  Long-distance buses are available, but are often in poor condition and drive at unsafe speeds. 

Traffic Laws and Practice: Drivers usually do not yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and ignore traffic lights (if available), traffic rules, and regulations. Jaywalking is common. Roads are congested. Some cars do not use lights at night and urban street lights may not be functioning. Some motorists drive at excessive speeds, tailgate, and force other drivers to yield the right of way. 

Check Points: Many government roadblocks are scattered throughout the country. New ones may be placed randomly, particularly after terrorist attacks. It can take a long time to navigate them in crowded traffic. Drivers should have car registration and ID documents available and should be very patient and polite.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Iraq should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard Homeport and the NGA Broadcast Warnings website.

Aviation Safety Oversight: There is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers certificated in Iraq; however, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority to be in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. The Model Civil Aviation Safety Act and the Model Regulations are published by the FAA to assist governments in carrying out their aviation safety oversight responsibilities. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page. The FAA prohibits U.S. civil flight operations over or within Iraq, with certain exceptions for overflights and other circumstances specified in Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 77. In addition, travel for mission personnel through Basrah Airport remains prohibited and travel through the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) is limited.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Al-Kindi Street
International Zone
Baghdad, Iraq
Telephone:  0760-030-3000
Telephone: 301-985-8841, ext. 4293 or 2413 (U.S. dial numbers that ring in Baghdad)
U.S. Citizen Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-964-770-443-1286 or 011-964-770-030-4888 from the United States or 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888 from within Iraq.
Email: baghdadacs@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Erbil
413 Ishtar, Ankawa Erbil, Iraq
Telephone: During business hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday through Thursday (local Erbil time is eight hours ahead of EST and seven hours ahead during EDT)
From Iraq: 066-211-4554
From the United States: 240-264-3467 and then extension 4554
After hours emergencies and on weekends (Friday, Saturday & Holidays):
From Iraq:
066-211-4000 and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
From the United States: 240-264-3467 and ask to speak with the Duty Officer
E-mail: ErbilACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Basrah
Basrah, Iraq (near Basrah International Airport)
At this time, U.S. Consulate General Basrah does not provide consular services; please contact the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for assistance.

The work week in Iraq is Sunday through Thursday.

 

 

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General Information


For information concerning travel to Iraq, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Iraq.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

 

On March 21, 2014, Iraq acceded to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention); however, the United States and Iraq are not yet treaty partners.  Until Iraq and the United States establish a treaty relationship per Article 38 of the Convention, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to Iraq or wrongfully retained in Iraq are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue the return of or access to their children.  

 

 

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Return


Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iraq and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website: travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Iraq.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Iraq and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Iraq are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Iraqi government does not provide mediation services.  Parents should consult with an attorney in Iraq to learn of possible mediation services in Iraq.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Iraq is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptio(Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Under the laws of Iraq, adoption of Iraqi children is not permitted. U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents considering Iraq are encouraged to read more about seeking guardianship under Islamic Shari'a Law.

Under limited conditions, the Government of Iraq, through its Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA), may accord guardianship of an Iraqi child to a member of his or her extended family or a family friend, provided that the guardian is an Iraqi national of the Islamic faith, and that the child will be cared for in Iraq. Additionally, a family cannot obtain guardianship over a child of a different religious faith. Foreign citizens cannot be guardians. Questions regarding the eligibility for guardianship may be directed to the MOLSA.

U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Iraq who would like to adopt a child from the United States or from a third country should also contact MOLSA. See contact information below. 

Caution: U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when conditions permit a family reunion. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

Please visit the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for more information on travelling to Iraq and the U.S. Embassy Baghdad's website for information on consular services.

IRAQ’S GUARDIANSHIP AUTHORITY: 
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA)

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Who Can Adopt
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Who Can Be Adopted
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How to Adopt
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Traveling Abroad
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After Adoption
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Contact Information
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Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 12 Months
A-2 None Multiple 12 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 12 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 12 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 12 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
I None Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None One 6 Months
K-4 None One 6 Months
L-1 None Multiple 12 Months
L-2 None Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 12 Months
R-2 None Multiple 12 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None One 3 Months
V-2 None One 3 Months 8
V-3 None One 3 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Although these documents are theoretically available from Iraqi authorities, frequently they may be withheld in individual cases for political or other reasons. In other cases applicants may be reluctant to obtain documents for fear of retribution. There are two type of personal identification documents typically possessed by Iraqi nationals: 1) Iraqi ID card "Aljinssiyah", and 2) Nationality Certificate "Shahadat aljinssiyah".

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: None

Document Name: Shahadat Alwiladah

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Health, "wazarat alsehha"

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Two types of birth certificates,one called "shahadat alweladah" issued by the Ministry of Health -the hospital, or "Surat Qayd alweladah" issued by the Ministry of Health "wazarat alsehha-maktab alwiladat", both of which have special seal of

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Health

Registration Criteria: When the baby is born, the parents take the birth document issued by the health clinic/hospital and takes it to the Ministry of Health, where the child's birth is officially registered.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: Family Book "Qayd 57" issued by the Nationality Directorate (Mudeeriyat Al-Jenssiyah)

Exceptions: According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Iraqi birth certificate can only be issued to a child of an Iraqi father; it may not be issued in the event that the child's father is an Arab-state national (other than Iraqi) or a foreigner.

Comments: If the Ministry of Health has no record of the subject's birth, either because the birth was never registered, or because the record was lost (i.e. during a fire, etc), then the subject can appear at the Nationality Directorate and present his family's identifications and they affirm that the subject-to-be-registered was in fact born on "x" date. The Nationality Directorate uses that information to register the birth via a document called "Family Book", which is like the family tree of the immediate family.

Death Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: None

Document Name: Shahadat alwafat

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Health - Bureau of births and deaths "wazarat alsehha-maktab alwiladat wa alwafiyat"

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Seal of Ministry of Health

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Health - Bureau of Births and Deaths

Registration Criteria: The family may register the death of their family member by submitting a hospital or report of death to the Ministry of Health's Bureau of Births and Deaths.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Burial Certificates

Please check back for update.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: None

Document Name: Aqd al-zawaj

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of justice, Civil Status Department "wazarat aladel- mahkamat al ahwal alshakhsiyah"

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: The seal of high judicial council "majles alqadhaa alaala"and the judge original green signature.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judge of the Civil Court

Registration Criteria: The couple files a marriage contract with the Ministry of Justice's Civil Status Department, who then issues the marriage certificate.

Certified Copies Available: The court issues one original marriage certificate, and certified copies

Alternate Documents: None

Divorce Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees: None

Document Name: Watheeqat al-talaq

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Justice "wazarat aladel- mahkamat al ahwal alshakhsiyah"

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: The seal of high judicial council "majles alqadhaa alaala"and the judge original green signature.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judge of the Civil Court

Registration Criteria: The divorce request is filed with the Ministry of Justice's Civil Status Department; when the divorce has been finalized, the court registers the marriage dissolution and issues the final divorce decree.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Comments: According to a February 1978 decree, all marriages must be registered in either a Muslim religious (Sharia) court or civil court. Persons married after that date should be able to present these court records. While Christian churches continue to perform marriage ceremonies and issue marriage certificates, these marriages are not legal in Iraq until recorded with an appropriate civil court.

Adoption Certificates

Available: Unavailable - Iraqi law does not grant adoptions


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Identity Card

Available: Yes

Fees: None

Document Name: "Al betaqa alshakhsiyah"or "aljinssiyah"

Issuing Government Authority: The Nationality Directorate (Mudeeriyat Al-Jenssiyah).

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: The seal of the Nationality Directorate and letter pressed Serial number (letter-press, red ink) and official hologram

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Nationality Directorate

Registration Criteria: The Nationality Directorate keep record of all citizens. They issue the ID according to birth certificate. Subject can renew or get a new ID if lost.

Certified Copies Available: Not available

Alternate Documents: None

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police/Prison Records

Available: Yes

Fees: None

Document Name: Shahadat adam mahkoomiyah

Issuing Government Authority: The Directorate of Criminal Information "Modeeriat Aladellah Aljinaeyah"

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: The certificate is in Arabic and English, and has the person's left thumb print; also has the Directorate of Criminal Evidence seal,certified by Ministry of Interior - Deputy for Police Affairs.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Director General of Criminal Evidence Department "modeer tahqeeq aladellah aljinaeyah"

Registration Criteria: Applicant can obtain this certificate from any branch of the directory of criminal information in Iraq

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: None

Comments: The certificates are not available for applicants who request them outside of Iraq.

Court Records

Available: Only if there is a court decision

Fees: None

Document Name: Sijil almahkamah

Issuing Government Authority: Court

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Original Signature for the Judge

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The court having jurisdiction over the proceedings

Registration Criteria: Application for certified copies of court proceedings must be requested by directly contacting the court having jurisdiction over such proceedings

Certified Copies Available: Yes, if court proceedings exist

Military Records

Available: Yes

Fees: None

Document Name: "Daftar alkhidmah alaskariyah"

Registration Criteria: Iraqi law requires all male citizens to register for military service at age 18. Those registered are issued military books indicating their service status which are kept after discharge.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: Generally not available for service performed prior to 2003

Comments: For military service performed after 2003: male citizens, 45 years of age and over, are exempt from military service. Iraqi law requires all male citizens to register for military service at age 18. Those registered are issued military books indicating their service status which are kept after discharge. There is no compulsory military service.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available: "A" passports are available for all Iraqis

Fees: IQD $25,000 - equivalent to approximately USD $21

Document Name: Jawaz

Issuing Government Authority: The Directorate of Passports or its branches in provinces

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: It has a hologram image, hologram seal and water marks

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Passports Office Director

Registration Criteria: Per the Iraqi Passport Directorate, the following documents are required in order to apply for an Iraqi passport: 1) National ID card; 2) Certificate of Iraqi Nationality; 3) Residency card; 4) Two photographs; 5) National ID of the guardian (if applicant is a minor); 6) Fee

Alternate Documents: Travel Document for Palestinian Refugees in Iraq: This document was put into use as of January 1, 1963, and is considered to meet the passport requirements of the Act.

Comments: Validity of Iraqi Passports: Only D (diplomatic), E (official), G and A passports are valid for US visas and admission to the United States. Furthermore, H series passports are valid for US travel only if they have been validated in accordance with the instructions in Paragraph 5 of 2004State 210749. M, N and S series passports are not valid for US travel. Even if still valid, U.S. visas placed in S series passports can no longer be used to enter the U.S. Those placed in M or N series passports, if used in conjunction with a valid D, E, G or H series passport are valid for entry into the U.S. Until further notice, the competent issue authorities for Iraqi passports are only in Baghdad, or the Embassies of Iraq in Amman, Damascus,Cairo,Ankara, Kuwait, and Dubai. All Iraqis of all ages must apply for passports in person. All other Iraqi embassies worldwide cannot issue valid Iraqi passports. Iraqis at other diplomatic missions may apply for an emergency document for travel back to Iraq.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Baghdad, Iraq (Embassy)

Address: Al Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad, Iraq

Email: BaghdadNIV@state.gov; BaghdadIV@state.gov; BaghdadACS@state.gov

Erbil, Iraq (Consulate General)

Address: 413 Ishtar, Ankawa, Erbil, Iraq

Email: ErbilNIV@state.gov; ErbilACS@state.gov

Visa Services

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad accepts applications for all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa classifications. All public inquiries must be directed to the IV Unit via our online inquiry form. The IV Unit does not provide visa information over the telephone.

At this time, because of the limited capacity of the consular section, Consulate General Erbil can only interview non-immigrant visa applicants:

  • Who hold an Iraqi passport, or
  • Who have been legal residents of Iraq for at least six months, or
  • Who are renewing a multiple entry U.S. visa valid for at least one full year that is either still valid or expired less than one year ago.

All other applicants, including those applying for A and G official visas and all Immigrant Visa applicants, must apply at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad or other appropriate posts.

Interviews are conducted in English, Arabic, and Kurdish. Because of space limitations, only the applicant may be present - translators, family members, or others will not be admitted.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 483-7500 (202) 507-8610

Detroit, MI (248) 423-1250

Los Angeles, CA (213) 797-6060

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Al-Kindi Street
International Zone
Baghdad, Iraq
Telephone
0760-030-3000
Emergency
301-985-8841, ext. 4293 or 2413 (U.S. dial numbers that ring in Baghdad)
Fax
+(964) 770-443-1286 or +(964) 770-030-4888 from the U.S. or 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888 from within Iraq
Iraq Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.